is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada
called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain
ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full
of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity
to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without
Wilderness Adventures - February, Week 1/06
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
of this page.
You can search this site for a subject of interest to you
at the bottom of this page.
Boy, we just don't have the breathlessly cold winters
anymore that we used to have. I'm sure people many countries
over are saying the same thing, but truly, its' absence
is most noticeable in February.
In this part of British Columbia late January and
the first few weeks of February were the cold months
ever since I was a child, but each year the winters seem
to be warming up and apparently, this year is no exception.
It's been chilly the last few days, but last night it
started warming up and today everything was melting like
crazy. There's a warm wind out of the south again tonite,
and it's still well above freezing out there. There just
aren't the 60F below winters anymore. Heck, we don't even
reach 40F below anymore. Sometimes, I actually miss it.
We do have lots of snow this year which
is really, really nice, and quite a change from the last
couple of years. However, if the warm weather keeps up,
it won't take long for it to start settling. At least
if a crust forms on top, it will cut down on the drifting
on Nimpo Lake.
Just to remind everyone, there are resorts and motels
here that are open year round. If you're looking for a
late winter vacation for some winter sports or relaxation,
this is the place to be. Snowmobiling is awesome
right now and winter hiking, cross country skiing or snowshoeing
is quite a challenge. It's the quiet time of year
so if you're looking for a little peace and time away
from the hustle and bustle of city life, we have accommodations
ranging from comfortable to the luxurious and excellent
winter rates. Check out some of the pages under 'Accommodations'
in the navigation menu on the left hand side of this page
for lodging and take a look at some of the other pages
on this site describing dining, winter recreation and
the wildlife you can expect to see here. Come and enjoy
while the snow lasts!
For those of you thinking of a summer vacation in
the West Chilcotin, this is the time to start
making arrangements and setting up bookings for accommodation,
tours and flyouts.
Beef on Service
I have a beef and I'm going to complain about it so be
prepared to turn your ears away. I've spent a good part
of the day trying to get onto the Internet for various
reasons, including email, banking and this blog. Lately,
it has become more and more difficult to accomplish that
little feat. 'Line is busy' is the Telus mantra
now and frankly, I'm tired of it. Canada is one
of the most wired nations in the world, or was... It would
seem we have fallen behind, as usual. As a country, Canada
always starts out of the gate like a first class racehorse
on anything involving technology, and then stumbles and
falls behind in the last turn, only to let another country
surge ahead on her hard work and inventiveness.
We little guys in the bush see this all the time.
There was a big push on a few years back to provide broadband
to all areas in Canada. We finally got our fibre optics
in this remote neck of the woods. It's buried. It's right
there. But it will cost $20,000 to hook the communities
of Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake up to that wire and
Telus (our phone provider) just doesn't seem to think
we're worth it financially. It's no surprise that
many business people and some locals have resorted to
satellite systems for Internet access. I've held out this
long based on a news item on TV a year ago stating that
Telus had picked up a huge $240 million dollar contract
to supply all BC government buildings with their Internet
service/hookup based on their promise to provide what
they called 'End of the road high speed service' (high
speed access) to every remote area in British Columbia.by
December 2006. Email queries to find out how that's
going have met with little success. I think we're
hooped. But I hope I can get the message across to Telus
that they have lost a lot of business, and continue to
do so. If I have to go to the expense of hooking
up to satellite for my Internet service, I'm not going
back, and I may switch my telephone to that as
well. Where does that leave our provincial phone company?
Based on it's poor service record ... exactly where it
deserves to be.
day started out with a breathtaking sunrise over Nimpo
Lake, pictures of which were kindly taken by my
early rising partner. Branches on trees still show the
most recent snowfall and will probably continue to do
so for a little while if our cool temperatures persist.
Down to -23C or about -10F below last night and never
did quite make it above freezing today. Still, with the
sun trying to peek through high haze it turned out to
be a beautiful day and after getting a little work done
I decided I was going cross country skiing no
I geared up and prepared to go out on my poor snowmachine-beaten
track that is almost impossible to break a flat track
on, but like I mentioned yesterday, a lot faster than
slugging through eight to twelve inches of snow.
As I pointed out in yesterday's blog, I ran into a lot
of overflow with the snowmachine while cutting my track.
I knew after last night's temps. that the slush would
be frozen solid and it was, until I got between
the ice road and the point on the other side of Nimpo
Lake. I hit another batch of overflow and happened
to look at a hole next to my trail. A depression in the
snow a foot or two across went clear down to ice. Water
actually. And that water was 'breathing'. That is to say
it wasn't overflow that came up through cracks to soak
the snow, but was water moving with the waves under the
ice. Now call me chicken ...or not ... but I flipped
those cross country skiis around and I backtracked faster
than you can cluck twice ! If this was a spider
hole, I had no way of knowing how large it was or if part
of it was spread under the trail I had made the day before.
I think I've described spider holes before on previous
blogs written last spring, which is when the majority
of them show up. They are round holes in the lake ice
with cracks radiating out from them. Usually the water
in them is free of ice, and no...they aren't made by ice
augers. In fact, no one seems to know what causes
them, but while they're more predominent in spring,
last year Nimpo Lake was covered with them all winter.
They can be all different sizes and look extremely
ominous from the air when the ice starts to darken and
breakup is near.
Chances are one in a million that this particular spider
hole would have caused me a problem, but since I don't
swim, my skiis would be almost impossible to break loose
from my boots, and the water temperature is right around
freezing with survivability beyond 30 seconds almost
nil, I wasn't taking any chances.
I ended up back on the ice road re-cleared by our erstwhile
plowman-in-training and headed home by a different route.
Yep, you can call me chicken!
Snowballs And Overflow
snow fall last night! We got about four inches of the
fluffy stuff on top of a pretty bountiful base making
for some great snowmobiling. Unfortunately, cross
country skiing is a real chore, especially on Nimpo Lake.
I went out today with the Ski-Doo to break myself a trail
after watching the neighbours struggle across the lake
yesterday morning. Snowmobile tracks don't make for the
best ski trail, especially with a 2" mountain paddle
that churns the snow up like whipping cream, but it's
a lot better than struggling through a foot of snow with
I hit some really bad overflow on the other side
of the lake and some deep snow!
It's shady over there so the snow doesn't settle and melt
like it does on the rest of the lake. You get a lot more
snow sitting on the ice resulting in deep overflow. I
was trying to go slow enough to form a decent path for
skiing but my snowmachine was bogging down. The fresh
snow was blowing up on the faceshield of my helmet so
when I would look behind me to see whether it was just
deep snow or overflow, I couldn't tell. When I circled
back to run a second track for the dogs, I got my answer.
Water soaked the snow in my track in many places
and I was glad I hadn't slowed down too much or I would
have been stuck for awhile. Since the overflow
may ruin the lake for skiing on that side until it either
gets colder or melts, I broke a track on the trails behind
our place. That way I can ski or we can walk there, as
can the neighbours.
Since Terry is in Arizona, Andy B. played snowplow man
using Terry's rig to try and clear the ice road on Nimpo
Lake. It was badly drifted in yesterday from high winds,
and was nearly invisible today after the fresh snowfall.
You could tell he was having a real tough go of
it pushing through the drifts all afternoon cutting
out only about a one foot swath at a time in the really
bad spots. Looks like he's got it in pretty good shape
now from this end of Nimpo Lake to the other and wide
enough for two vehicles to pass.
Folks down at the other end have been doing a lot of snowmobiling
lately and I can't wait until we can get out there. There's
supposed to be some pretty nice weather for the next week
so I guess we'll see.
Vancouver, Victoria and Washington State have been
hit pretty hard by last night's storm. High winds
and high tide caused a large storm surge which in turn
caused a lot of flooding. Trees downed by the wind landed
on houses, streets and power lines, knocking out power
to over 120,000 residents on the coast. Selfish as it
sounds, it's just another of those times that I'm glad
I live here and not there. I'll just sit here and enjoy
my sparkly white snow, thank you very much!.
Snow and Fourwheeling
it's a real delight to look out the window tonite and
see fine flakes of snow pouring down. It's building up
quite quickly too. There is a massive storm system barrelling
in off the Pacific and aiming to smother most of British
Columbia. You know those bright and ominous colors
that weathermen use to display massive storm cells that
spawn tornadoes or display hurricanes coming in over the
US? Well, that's what our weatherman was showing
us tonite for the BC region. It ain't pretty folks. Especially
when the weathermen are warning people in Vancouver to
keep emergency lighting and candles handy because of the
high winds expected. However, if everyone can make it
through Saturday, we should see several days of sunny
weather and that's something to look forward to!
The ice road on Nimpo Lake needs to be plowed out
because it's drifted in pretty badly from high
winds the last two days, we need to get more firewood
and I sure would like to get some snowmobiling in. 'Tis
the season. So some nice weather would be good.
No snowmobiling down in Arizona but we did get in quite
a bit of fourwheeling. Like Nimpo Lake and Anahim
Lake, this section of the Arizona desert is easier to
investigate using a fourwheeler or ATV. Although
I've lived in Canada for most of my life, I was born in
Arizona and the desert is still close to my heart, especially
where there are mountains. I'm not at all familiar with
the area we went to these last couple of weeks, but it
sits on the eastern base of some pretty decent mountain
The Quartzsite area is particularly noted for its
gold and has been since the late 1800's. The only
thing that has limited many more millions of dollars in
gold from being found over what already has been, is the
lack of water.
I'm always fascinated by history, geology, plants, and
rocks and the Arizona desert does each in unusual style.
We explored the desert several times with fourwheelers,
investigated old gold mines and marveled over the plants,
all of which have spines of some sort.
We had the opportunity to speak to one fellow that
was mining for gold in a dry wash using a 'dry'
sluice box which uses puffing air to do the job that water
normally would in settling out the gold. He then takes
the remaining heavy dirt and uses a gold pan with a five
gallon bucket of water to glean out the gold. He showed
us some of his gold, mostly flakes and tiny nuggets, but
interesting nonetheless. Some people do well mining in
the desert, others hunt for gold as an after-retirement
Some of the old mines are deep shafts and I can attest
that there was a whole lot of quartz dug out of the mountain
sides by hand and with dynamite. Hard work indeed, at
least half of it done under a blazing sun in temperatures
up to 120F degrees above zero. We found a large chunk
of rock with a fuse sticking out of dried mud in a round
hole hand drilled in it, the dynamite gone or long since
worn away, and brought it back to put in my mother's rock
garden. Now that I think of it ... I hope
the dynamite is gone.
Still snowing and from the chat on the radio, the highways
boys are in for a long night trying to keep the roads
clear. On the one hand, being a selfish snowmachiner,
I would love to see a good dump of snow. On the other
hand, the neighbour's daughter is trying to drive back
from high school in Williams Lake nearly 200 hundred miles
through this weather, and I'd like to see her safely home
The Trip Down
nothing like having a snowstorm follow you to Arizona.
When we left early in the morning mid January, it
snowed all the way from Nimpo Lake to Williams Lake,
then off and on clear to the Okanagan. After taking care
of business there we left in late afternoon to go across
the border. Snowing again until we finally were
forced off the road by 8" of slushy snow less than
two hours across the Canadian American border.
We fought snow and dangerously high winds clear to Reno
where we stayed with my brother for a couple days. More
snow and cold the whole time we were there and we didn't
get out of it until half way between Reno and Las Vegas.
In the picture on the right of the Silver Peak Mountains,
you can't quite see the snow on the desert floor. While
Quartzsite, Arizona, just north of Yuma, hasn't seen any
moisture for three months, I think everyone had
high hopes we would bring snow with us. We just
about did. Although clear for the most part, it was windy
and cool in Arizona with frost many of the nights we were
The trip back to Canada was just as hairy.
We decided we were safer coming back on Interstate 5 because
there was far less likelihood of hitting snowstorms that
close to the coast. Hah! We crossed California far to
the south where we started seeing hundreds of wind turbines
just west of Edwards Air Force base. Uh oh....Sure
enough, gusts of wind hit our truck and camper with nearly
enough force to knock her over. It wasn't as bad as it
had been just west of Reno where there were wind warnings
for campers and trucks and where we're pretty sure one
dually lifted off the pavement once or twice in the wind
gusts, but it was close.
We hit snow in northern California and had to put
her into four wheel drive going over a pass there peering
through the windshield at blizzard like conditions.
A pass in Southern Oregon was nearly as bad and we learned
the next morning that many of the passes in Oregon had
been closed both behind us and east of us because even
trucks with chains couldn't get through. Most of the next
day was rain through Oregon and Washington. We crossed
the Canadian border the next day looking for road reports
for the Coquihalla toll road from Hope to Merrit and the
connector to the Okanagan. There was a lot of snow on
the toll highway but the road itself wasn't too bad. It
was snowing as we crossed over to Merritt where we picked
up the highway over an even higher pass to Kelowna. There
it was blizzard conditions as it got darker and darker
and back into four wheel drive we went. Even though
it was a four lane highway, each side was reduced to a
single snow drifted lane and you could watch cars and
trucks on the other side creep up a highway that looked
even worse than ours.
We were listening to the highways channel and it soon
became apparent that they were not aware they had one
heck of a storm happening on that road. No plow trucks
to be seen and of course since it was the weekend, they
would have been shorthanded anyway. We made it with a
big sigh of relief only to find out the next morning
that every available route had been closed behind us because
of the snowstorm. The toll highway got several
feet of snow and was closed for more than a day.
The road to Williams Lake wasn't bad although we hit snow
here and there, but the highway out to Nimpo Lake
was in lousy shape with compact snow and icy patches.
Our new private contractors aren't bothering to get out
there and do their jobs.
In any case, I don't think we're going to do much travelling
in North America in January after this. It just doesn't
seem to be a very good month for it.
I sure would like to get out on Nimpo Lake to do
some cross country skiing today, but it's pretty
windy out there. It's gloriously sunny here but there
are storm clouds brewing over the Coast Range. Vancouver
and coast areas have been hit by really high winds the
last couple of days causing power outages and storm surge.
I think I'll have to satisfy myself with a nice walk on
the trails in the woods out back that are protected by
surrounding forest. Unfortunately, spending a lot of time
in the truck on the road only encourages spreading of
the heinie and we both need some exercise. I got to go
rollerblading for the first time in years and it was a
real pleasure. The lanes down in Quartzsite were smoothly
paved and provided a little bit of exercise, although
my sense of balance on the skates needs a lot of improvement
after all these years of not being on them.That's ok because
we'll be doing some snowmobiling here fairly soon, and
that's great balance exercise, especially in deep snow.
I'm Back and so is Resorts BC
unfortunately, has been down. It would seem that
Murphy's Law states if your web site is going to go down,
it's going to do it while you're 2500 miles away from
home and blissfully unaware you have a problem.
Hi folks. It's wonderful to be home and I apologize to
the ends of the earth to those of you who attempted to
access the Resorts BC website for the last week of January
We got back to Nimpo Lake the day before yesterday,
unpacked the camper and put stuff away, so that it was
late evening before I sat down at the computer. I spent
a good deal of time downloading a million and a half emails,
(not quite, but it sure seemed like it on a slow dial
up) before I went on line to check the stats on the web
site. Weird...there were none for the past week. Go to
the site and there is no site. Nothing. Nada. Whoa
I put a late night call back to my hosting service in
the province of Saskatchewan where I was fortunate enough
to reach an IT that was working late. He emailed the others
that had gone home and by the time I got up the next morning,
the site was back up and running.
It seems that a domain name swap this time last year had
somehow confused things this year. Had I been home, the
site would have been down for no longer than a few hours.
But since I was on the road and didn't even have access
to a computer for the last five days...well, you saw what
Now I guess I get to monitor it for a while to see how
much damage was caused to the site's standing with the
search engines as well as with those of you who
have faithfully followed this blog for the past months.
Finally, you will probably have noticed that my
Chilcotin laptop didn't work. When I got to Arizona
we spent a couple of frustrating days trying to get the
thing hooked up on line. We even had a snowmobiling buddy
and computer whiz who was also down there try to get the
modem to use my mother's online account. No dice. This
tells me that if I get a laptop, I'm going to have to
find out how other people who travel access the Internet.
I'm sure there's a simple solution, but we bush people
just don't know it.
By the way, Happy Groundhog Day!
can find January's articles about snowmobiling prior to
our leaving on holiday at January
The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a
remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a
beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search
engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim
Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities
in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large
as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough
room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible
country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip
of the iceberg, so join me!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!